NAPSNet Daily Report 16 October, 2009
Contents in this Issue:
- I. NAPSNet
- 1. DPRK Nuclear Program
- 2. US and DPRK Nuclear Talks
- 3. Inter-Korean Maritime Border
- 4. ROK on DPRK Nuclear Program
- 5. ROK Aid to the DPRK
- 6. Russia on DPRK Missile Test
- 7. DPRK-Japan Relations
- 8. Japan Abduction Issue
- 9. DPRK Economy
- 10. ROK Missile Program
- 11. ROK Climate Change
- 12. ROK-EU FTA
- 13. Japan SDF Indian Ocean Mission
- 14. US-Japan Security Alliance
- 15. USFJ Base Relocation
- 16. Japanese Civil Society and Nuclear Proliferation
- 17. Japan Nuclear Power
- 18. Cross Strait Relations
- 19. Sino-Russian Energy Trade
- 20. Sino-Russian Military Relations
- 21. PRC Energy Supply
- 22. PRC Environment
- 23. Shanghai Cooperation Organization
- II. PRC Report
1. DPRK Nuclear Program
Yonhap News (Tony Chang, “N. KOREA SEEMS TO WANT NUKE AGREEMENT LIKE U.S.-INDIA DEAL: FORMER U.S. OFFICIAL”, 2009/10/15) reported that the DPRK seems to want recognition as a nuclear power, but may ultimately be willing to agree on a partial denuclearization deal like the one the U.S. offered India in 2005, a former U.S. National Security Council (NSC) official said. “I think they want to keep their nuclear weapons … (but) I think they’re willing to give up some of their weapons … if they can get a deal, like the deal that was given to India,” Victor Cha. Cha, currently director of Asian Studies at Georgetown University, was referring to the U.S.-India nuclear deal signed in 2005, under which India agreed to separate its civil and military nuclear facilities and place all its civil nuclear facilities under International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards. In exchange, the U.S. agreed to work toward full civil nuclear cooperation with India.
2. US and DPRK Nuclear Talks
Kyodo News (“N. KOREA INVITES U.S. ENVOY BOSWORTH TO VISIT PYONGYANG: GRAHAM”, 2009/10/15) reported that the DPRK has extended an invitation in recent weeks to U.S. special representative for North Korea policy Stephen Bosworth to visit Pyongyang , U.S. evangelist Franklin Graham said Thursday after a trip to the DPRK. Quoting a senior DPRK official as confirming that “the invitation has been extended,” Graham said, “Six weeks ago, the invitation had not been extended by the North Koreans to Ambassador Bosworth. But now it has. So there is a momentum (to start bilateral talks), which is very positive.” U.S. President Barack Obama “has an opportunity to take advantage of this momentum to work for peace,” said Graham, the eldest son of veteran U.S. evangelist Billy Graham.
3. Inter-Korean Maritime Border
The New York Times (“NORTH KOREA ACCUSES SOUTH OF NAVAL INTRUSION”, 2009/10/15) reported that the DPRK military accused ROK warships of intruding into its waters, reminding its neighbors that it could raise tensions even as its government was reaching out for talks with the United States and the ROK. The Defense Ministry in Seoul called the DPRK claim that its ships had violated DPRK waters “preposterous.” But the DPRK military made clear its stance on the matter. “The reckless military provocations by warships of the South Korean Navy have created such a serious situation that a naval clash may break out between the two sides in these waters,” the DPRK military said in a statement.
4. ROK on DPRK Nuclear Program
Yonhap News (“PRESIDENT LEE SAYS N. KOREA SHOULD DITCH NUKE PLAN”, Seoul, 2009/10/15) reported that ROK President Lee Myung-bak said the DPRK should give up its nuclear ambitions as soon as possible and return to the international community for its development. “(Now) is the time for Pyongyang to dismantle its nuclear program,” President Lee said in a meeting with foreign diplomats stationed in Seoul. “In that context, I hope the North will take a positive stance.”
Korea Times (“NK URGED TO COMMIT TO DENUCLEARIZATION”, 2009/10/15) reported that Unification Minister Hyun In-taek called on the DPRK to show some “commitment” to resolve the nuclear issue. “We are, at the moment, cautiously observing what the true intention of North Korea is,” Hyun said in his speech at the European Union Chamber of Commerce in Korea (EUCCK) in Seoul. “What we really need is North Korea’s firm commitment or intention to resolve the nuclear problem,” he said.
5. ROK Aid to the DPRK
Yonhap News (“S. KOREAN RED CROSS AID TO NORTH KOREA HITS ZERO “, Seoul, 2009/10/15) reported that humanitarian aid to the DPRK by the ROK’s Red Cross dropped to nil this year after a rapid decline in 2008, mirroring strained political relations across the border, a lawmaker said, citing internal data. Rep. Kwak Jung-sook of the minor opposition Democratic Labor Party said DPRK aid provided by the National Red Cross plunged to 1.8 billion won (US$1.55 million) last year, compared to 140 billion won worth of aid in 2007 and 200 billion won in 2006.
Yonhap (Tony Chang, “KOREAS HOLD TALKS OVER FAMILY REUNIONS, HUMANITARIAN AID”, Seoul, 2009/10/16) reported that working-level officials of the two Koreas met on Friday to explore the possibility of future cross-border family reunions and humanitarian projects. “The two sides resumed their afternoon meeting. As of morning there seemed to be some difference in opinion between the two sides on holding future reunions,” an official at the Unification Ministry said.
6. Russia on DPRK Missile Test
Xinhua News (“RUSSIA CALLS FOR RESTRAINT OVER DPRK’S MISSILE TESTS”, 2009/10/15) reported that Russia has urged restraint in responding to recent test launches of short-range missiles by the DPRK. The DPRK’s recent test launches did not pass unnoticed, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrei Nesterenko told a regular news briefing. Russia supported strict compliance with the U.N. Security Council Resolution 1874 but “urges concerned parties to show self-control and to avoid actions that may complicate the already difficult military and political situation in the region,” he said.
7. DPRK-Japan Relations
Agence France-Presse (“N. KOREA REVIVES DRIVE TO SCRAP JAPANESE CARS”, 2009/10/12) reported that the DPRK has revived a campaign to ban Japanese cars from its roads, apparently reflecting strained relations between the two nations, a ROK welfare group said. The drive was launched in 2007 but later suspended because about 70 percent of cars in the communist country are Japanese, said Good Friends, which works in the DPRK. The group said Pyongyang revived the campaign in June, instructing provincial prosecutors to check for Japanese vehicles in each factory and public enterprise and to report their findings.
8. Japan Abduction Issue
The Asahi Shimbun (“NEW TASK FORCE ON ABDUCTION ISSUE”, 2009/10/15) reported that the government announced the formation Tuesday of a new task force to look into the issue of the DPRK’s abductions of Japanese citizens. The body, whose creation was approved by the Cabinet, will replace the Headquarters for the Abduction Issue set up in 2006 under then Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. It will be chaired by Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, with Hiroshi Nakai, the state minister in charge of North Korean abductions of Japanese nationals, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirofumi Hirano and Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada serving as deputies.
9. DPRK Economy
Yonhap News (Tony Chang, “N. KOREA BUILDING NEW HOUSING DISTRICTS IN PYONGYANG: REPORT”, 2009/10/15) reported that the DPRK is carrying out a major urban development project in Pyongyang with the goal of providing some 100,000 new houses by 2012, a pro-Pyongyang newspaper based in Tokyo reported. The Chosun Sinbo, which usually conveys Pyongyang’s views, described the housing construction as an “unprecedented national project” and a “core project” in the country’s campaign looking to 2012. The paper reported that the DPRK was in the process of building 65,000 new houses in the city’s western district of Mangyeongdae, where Kim Il-sung’s birth home is located, 15,000 houses in central Pyongyang and 20,000 houses along the railroad spanning between the southern district of Ryokpo and Ryongsong district in the capital’s northern region.
Agence France-Presse (“‘MINCED BEEF AND BREAD’ A HIT IN NORTH KOREAN FAST FOOD JOINT”, 2009/10/12) reported that once condemned as evil “US imperialist” fare, western-style fast food is now available in the DPRK thanks to a Singaporean entrepreneur who is already drawing up expansion plans just months after opening his first outlet. “There is a potential to develop this business over there,” said Patrick Soh, who is bullish on the prospects of fast food in the isolated Stalinist state better known for famines than deep-fried delights. Burgers, called “minced beef and bread” to mask their American association, are the biggest attraction at the eatery, which also sells fries, crispy Belgian waffles, fried chicken and — the latest addition — hotdogs.
10. ROK Missile Program
Agence France-Presse (“SOUTH KOREA DEPLOYS LONG-RANGE CRUISE MISSILES”, 2009/10/15) reported that the ROK has deployed new longer-range cruise missiles that could reach not only the DPRK but also parts of the PRC and Japan, a news report said. Munhwa Ilbo newspaper said Seoul began mass-producing the “Hyunmu-3” missiles with a range of 1,000 kilometres (620 miles) early this year. The paper, quoting US and ROK government sources, said the missile was developed in 2006 and tested for two years before being deployed. “Its development and deployment had been kept confidential because Japan, China and other neighbouring nations could react sensitively,” the source said.
11. ROK Climate Change
JoongAng Ilbo (“KOREA RANKS 9TH IN CARBON EMISSIONS”, 2009/10/13) reported that the ROK ranked ninth in the world in carbon dioxide emissions in 2007, according to a new report by the International Energy Agency. The ROK ranked sixth in carbon dioxide emissions among OECD member nations, the Ministry of Knowledge Economy reported yesterday, based on the IEA’s World Energy Outlook, which will be released next month. Korea recorded a rate of 488.7 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions in 2007, up from 476.5 million tons the previous year.
12. ROK-EU FTA
Agence France-Presse (“SKOREA HAILS SWEEPING FREE TRADE PACT WITH EUROPE”, Seoul, 2009/10/16) reported that the ROK Friday hailed a sweeping free trade agreement with the European Union , saying it would swell commerce by billions of dollars, cut living costs and make the nation’s industry more competitive. The deal signed Thursday in Brussels is the first between the world’s largest single trading bloc and an Asian nation. Seoul officials hope it will spur the US Congress to ratify a similar agreement.
13. Japan SDF Indian Ocean Mission
Agence France-Presse (“JAPAN TELLS US IT WILL STOP AFGHAN REFUELLING MISSION”, Tokyo, 2009/10/15) reported that Japan has told the United States it will end a naval refuelling mission that supports the war in Afghanistan , a top defence official said, a month before President Barack Obama visits Tokyo . The formal confirmation to the White House and Pentagon, days before Defence Secretary Robert Gates visits Japan, is part of efforts by the new centre-left government here to recalibrate security ties with Washington. On Wednesday the parliamentary defence secretary, Akihisa Nagashima , the third-ranking defence official, told the White House and Pentagon the mission would not be renewed when its legal mandate expires in January.
14. US-Japan Security Alliance
Reuters (“JAPAN-U.S. TIES MORE IMPORTANT WITH CHINA RISE: MINISTER”, Tokyo , 2009/10/15) reported that Japan’s alliance with the United States will become more important with the PRC’s rise as a military power, Japanese Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa said, dismissing concerns that ties could weaken. “It is true that China is building up its navy and air force. But their intentions are not clear to us,” Kitazawa said. “As China increases its presence in the Asia-Pacific region, there may be countries that feel threatened. In that sense, the value of the Japan-U.S. alliance will actually increase.”
15. USFJ Base Relocation
Kyodo News (“JAPAN UNLIKELY TO DECIDE ON BASE RELOCATION BEFORE OBAMA’S VISIT”, 2009/10/15) reported that Japan will find it difficult to decide what to do about the proposed relocation of a U.S. military airfield on Okinawa by the time U.S. President Barack Obama visits Tokyo next month, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirofumi Hirano said. His remark follows that of Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa, who said that the issue is likely to be far from resolved before Obama’s visit on Nov. 12-13 and an agreement is unlikely to be reached between Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama and Obama.
16. Japanese Civil Society and Nuclear Proliferation
Kyodo News (“NGOS CALL FOR TOKYO TO TAKE LEADERSHIP ON NUCLEAR DISARMAMENT”, 2009/10/15) reported that members of Japanese nongovernmental organizations submitted a petition to the government Thursday, urging it to take more assertive leadership in global nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation efforts. The petition was faxed to the offices of Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada and other Foreign Ministry personnel earlier in the day, Masayoshi Naito, co-chair of the ICNND Japan NGO Network, said. Highlights of the NGOs’ request include calling for the government to issue declarations of its support for the “no-first-use policy” of nuclear weapons and to release a political declaration aimed at pursuing the establishment of a nuclear-free zone in Northeastern Asia.
17. Japan Nuclear Power
Kyodo News (“MOX FUEL LOADING BEGINS AT GENKAI NUKE REACTOR”, 2009/10/15) reported that Kyushu Electric Power Co. began loading plutonium-uranium mixed oxide, or MOX,into the No. 3 reactor at its Genkai nuclear power plant Thursday in Saga Prefecture in preparation for Japan’s first plutonium-thermal power generation as early as in December. After taking five days to load the fuel, the process of which will be open to the media on Friday, the utility firm plans to resume the reactor in early November and gradually increase output for normal operation from early December, company officials said.
18. Cross Strait Relations
Agence France-Presse (“TAIWAN, CHINA TO SWAP TOURISM OFFICES: REPORT”, Taipei, 2009/10/15) reported that Taiwan and the PRC are set to swap tourism offices by the end of the year in yet another sign of warming ties between the former rivals, local media reported. Representatives from the Taiwan Strait Tourism Association and the PRC’s Cross-Straits Tourism Exchange Association will meet in Hong Kong soon to finalise the matter, the United Daily News said. This follows previous negotiations between the two semi-official bodies in July in the southern PRC territory, the paper said without citing sources.
19. Sino-Russian Energy Trade
The Associated Press (“WARMER TIES FOR RUSSIA, CHINA WITH BIG GAS DEALS”, 2009/10/15) reported that Russia and the PRC are closing in on a mammoth energy deal which could insure that Beijing has the fuel to run its factories and cities and Moscow has a vast new market for its natural gas empire. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Wednesday wrapped up a three-day visit to the PRC capital, during which Russia signed dozens of commercial pacts worth $3.5 billion and set the framework for a separate, multibillion-dollar agreement to build two natural gas pipelines to the PRC from gas fields in Russia’s Far East. Together, those pipelines would be capable of supplying the PRC with 68 billion cubic meters of natural gas annually, representing a whopping 85 percent of the gas the PRC currently consumes.
20. Sino-Russian Military Relations
Reuters (“CHINA AND RUSSIA SIGN MISSILE NOTIFICATION PACT”, 2009/10/15) reported that the PRC and Russia signed a pact to notify each other of ballistic missile launch plans during Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s visit this week to Beijing, PRC media said. “It shows the special relationship with the two countries, as the launches of ballistic missiles are core State secrets rarely disclosed to other countries,” Li Daguang, a military expert at China’s National Defense University, was quoted as saying by the Global Times’ English edition.
21. PRC Energy Supply
Agence France-Presse (“KENYA, CHINA MULL MASSIVE CORRIDOR FOR SUDAN OIL: FT”, 2009/10/15) reported that Nairobi and Beijing are mulling a huge project to develop a port on the Kenyan coast and a corridor creating a new export route for the PRC’s oil in Sudan’s secessionist south, the Financial Times reported. The energy-hungry Asian giant, the world’s third largest economy, is the biggest foreign player in Sudan’s oil sector and gets five percent of its crude oil from the Africa nation. One of the PRC ‘s top state-owned energy groups is expected to start prospecting in northern Kenya soon.
Caijing Magazine (Chen Zhu, “CNPC, KAZMUNAIGAZ SIGN DEAL ON GAS FIELD”, 2009/10/15) reported that China National Petroleum Corp., the parent of PetroChina, said it has signed a framework agreement with Kazakhstan’s state oil firm KazMunaiGaz on the joint development of the Urikhtau natural gas field. Urikhtau, located in the south of Kazakhstan, has estimated reserves of 40 billion cubic meters . The second, final stage of phase II will extend the pipeline to 2,800 kilometers and double the annual capacity to 20 million tons, Zhu Baoli, manager of China National Oil and Gas Exploration and Development Corp.’s pipeline operations.
22. PRC Environment
Agence France-Presse (“NEARLY 1,000 CHILDREN POISONED WITH LEAD IN CHINA”, 2009/10/13) reported that nearly 1,000 children in central PRC have tested positive for lead poisoning in the latest environmental scandal to erupt in the nation’s smelting industry, state press said. The news comes close on the heels of a spate of lead poisoning incidents around the PRC, and after residents in Jiyuan city, Henan province, protested over pollution from three local smelters last month, Xinhua news agency said. “The news (of excess lead levels) is like an earthquake,” the report quoted Li Hongwei, a Jiyuan resident as saying.
23. Shanghai Cooperation Organization
Xinhua News (“PMS OF SCO MEMBERS MEET IN BEIJING”, Beijing, 2009/10/15) reported that greater practical economic and cultural cooperation is the main topic on the agenda of the eighth prime ministers’ meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) member states which opened in Beijing Wednesday. In a series of closed-door discussions, the leaders will mainly focus on how to deepen economic and cultural pragmatic cooperation against the background of international and regional challenges.
II. PRC Report
24. PRC Environment
Public Welfare Times (“EPSON CHINA OPENS GREEN HOTLINE FOR CONSUMABLE RECOVERY”, 2009/10/15) reported that Epson Co., Ltd has opened the first green hotline for consumable recovery in the PRC. The company hopes this hotline can increase the environmental recovery rate of consumables and spread the idea of environmental protection.
25. PRC Energy Use
Xinhua Net (“26 PROVINCES COMPLETE ENERGY-SAVING TASKS OF LAST YEAR”, 2009/10/15) reported that according to a bulletin issued by National Development and Reform Committee, 26 provinces have fully completed their energy-saving tasks of last year and been evaluated by the Committee. Hainan, Tibet, and Qinghai have basically completed their tasks; Sichuan and Xinjiang haven’t competed their projects because of natural disasters.